The Time Budget Challenge

We’re back for another week of Escape Lab, and we hope you’re as excited as we are. We’re kicking things off by awarding a few prizes, and then we get into a discussion about time. And Kool-Aid. Tune in below!

[ Get transcript ]

Again, we only get out what we put into things. We implore you to participate in the Time Budget challenge. It’s a pretty minimal investment, but we guarantee that the results will be insanely useful!

1) Estimate your CURRENT daily time dispersement.
2) What would be your IDEAL daily time dispersement? (Dream big!)
3) For the next few days, keep track of your ACTUAL daily time dispersement. Will you be surprised?

Notable Quotable

“Fill yourselves first, and then only will you be able to give to others.”
— St. Augustine

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

Facebook Group
If you are on Facebook, you should join our special Facebook group called the Escape Adulthood League. It is an amazingly vibrant group of like-minded people infused with a sense of community, sharing, and silliness. It’s a swell chance to stay connected with other people who “get” you! Check it out and request an invite here:

Google Hangout
This Wednesday night, we’re hosting a live Google Hangout from 8:00pm – 9:00pm Central time. You’ll be able to log on and ask us questions or share comments via chat, and we’ll be able to address them in real time! More details to follow. Hope you’ll be able to make it!


What would constitute a PERFECT day for you? Share it below!


  1. Avatar Rachel Nash says:

    My Perfect Day – sleep until I wake up (but hopefully not too late, I don’t want to waste the day away!), work out, have a nice breakfast with the family, go out and do something a a family (sledding, movie, museum, etc.), come home and relax (read, watch tv, play a game, do a puzzle), cook and eat a nice dinner and then after getting the kids to bed, spending time with my husband.

    After writing this, I realized that nowhere in my perfect day was I doing the dishes from all the great meals I cooked, doing laundry, picking up, running errands, etc. Maybe this is why it is make believe? Ha!

  2. Angela Dunlap Angela Dunlap says:

    It’s a holiday today, so I get to be home doing things I didn’t do all weekend because I was busy spending time with family and friends. Therefore, today won’t be an ideal day for me in that it won’t be what I describe below, but I’m glad to have an extra day to catch up – I’m working on shrinky dinks and baking treats to take to work tomorrow and doing laundry and dishes and planning for Thursday’s English class (but NOT thinking about the week at work), but it’s all good because I’m excited to work in that extra “me” time (shrinky dinks and baking treats).
    An ideal day for me starts with waking up between 5 and 6 a.m. but without the pressure to be anywhere by 8 a.m. because I like time to meditate, exercise and write in my morning journal (this is how I get more Kool-Aid). My ideal day would then continue with reading and then some writing. Then, I would have lunch with my sister, brother-in-law and mom and then spend time doing stuff with them or alternatively my sister, brother-in-law and I would spend time with our dad and stepmom playing cards and eating. Then, I would come home and spend more time doing whatever I felt like doing (or insert time with my brother and his wife and time with nieces and nephews, too). The basic idea is not feeling pressured to do anything in particular, but having the day unfold in a leisurely fashion. Please note, however, that I wouldn’t want this day EVERY day. It’s an ideal day because it’s not always available to me. :>)

    • Angela Dunlap Angela Dunlap says:

      I got so focused on the sharing part, that I forgot an important matter. Thank you for the socks! I am thrilled to be getting them. It will drive my sister and mom crazy because they have to have everything color-coordinated and matching – even down to their underclothes. I, thankfully, have given up being that compulsive (about that anyway). ;>)

      • Kim Kotecki Kim Kotecki says:

        You’re welcome! Thanks again for sharing the stories!! I’ve found, once you go mismatched it’s hard to go back to matching socks. Even Lucy, our 6-year-old, will often just grab two random socks – sometimes makes for some interesting combinations (especially in public!). #notarule

      • Becky Reisinger Becky Reisinger says:

        From what I have learned from my teenage daughter – mismatched socks are the “in” thing. Teens don’t have time to sort socks. LOL!

      • Alaina Everitt Alaina Everitt says:

        Congratulations Angela!! I’m so glad you got a SWELL award. I haven’t had time (made time?) to read all the posts from each day and I would have regretted not hearing about your pay-it-forward plan! That is awesome!

        • Angela Dunlap Angela Dunlap says:

          Good to hear from you Alaina. I’ve been looking for you amongst the escape artists. What a post you have below, too! Definitely insightful, as Kim said. It shows the importance of quality time!

      • Avatar Sally Van Rens says:

        My son went through a period in time that he had to have matching everything on as well. I am thankful this has passed. It was hard to match him from head to toe every day.

    • Kim Kotecki Kim Kotecki says:

      Good point, about not necessarily wanting the perfect day EVERY day… that’s what makes them special, right!?

    • Avatar Michelle Herzbrun says:

      Sounds like a lot of great ways to fill up your kool aid ;)

    • Jen de Ridder Jen de Ridder says:

      Great thoughts. I agree on the early wake up. It is definitely how I get some me time in my day.

  3. Debbie Green Debbie Green says:

    As my family grew up daughters now 27 and 18, i told them each time we sat as a family together for dinner or had a day all of us together that this is when I am the happiest! Sin ce my oldest now lives in Nashville, my perfect day is when we are all together going out to breakfast and hanging out!!! I just put her on the plane back to Nashville an hour ago

  4. Kimberly McCue Kimberly McCue says:

    I think my perfect day would involve waking up around midmorning, without an alarm so I could have time to just lie in bed and remember what I was dreaming. Then I would get up and just hang out alone for some time. I’m very introverted and shy, so alone time is essential for my kool-aid. I would probably write, watch cartoons, play video games, spend time with pets…just chill out and enjoy myself. Maybe in the late afternoon or evening I would spend time with family – doing fun stuff and laughing. Then later in the evening just wind down, have more alone time to recharge, and go to sleep whenever feels right.

    • Kim Kotecki Kim Kotecki says:

      As a fellow-introvert, your day sounds wonderfully awesome!! Don’t you love the freedom of waking and sleeping when you want?!

  5. Avatar Ron England says:

    Perfect Day = DISNEY, seriously I love Disney but that answer is too easy… Why is Disney the perfect day:
    1. I’m with those that I love the most! my wonderful Girls
    2. It’s paid for! No pressure about what it’s going to cost because it’s all budgeted and set aside
    3. We are waited on, my wife feels overwhelmed at times keeping meals/laundry/picking up and I get to experience my wife without those stresses! (with the exception of picking up the hotel room!) :(
    4. Everyone gets something they love… we make opportunities for everyone to experience something they enjoy whether it be a certain ride, restaurant, or show and we all get to enjoy the smile on their face!
    6. Fireworks at the end of the Day!! We get to see fireworks :)
    I’m sure that I am forgetting some things that make Disney days so special and perfect, but thankfully we get to “recreate” Disney days at home!! :-) (i.e. rafting down the Ocoee with my daughter!)

    • Avatar Ron England says:

      BTW: I do help my wife with our home and chores around the house. :)

    • Jen de Ridder Jen de Ridder says:

      Love it!

    • Allie Henke Allie Henke says:

      This would be amazing and so much fun!

    • Allie Henke Allie Henke says:

      My perfect day would be sleeping in and waking up with my family all snuggled in bed. Get up and make pancakes for breakfast and lounge around the house for a bit. I would then love to take our daughter to a tropical beach and teach her how to swim. This beach would need to have a hot tub to relax in as well and some yummy refreshments to sit and watch the waves roll by. To finish off the day we would watch movies and fall asleep to the waves rolling outside our patio window. Obviously for this to happen we would have to move to a tropical paradise. And to be honest I am unsure I would want this to be permanent but would love to vacation like this once a year. I do not think that is too much to ask for and I think that it is something my husband and I could make very possible for our family. Someday this perfect day will happen. :)

      • Avatar Krista Sobieski says:

        and we will swim with the Bahamian Pigs….doesn’t everyone have that dream? Really…who would not love to go to an island and if wild pigs came to visit…that would be totally awesome.

    • Avatar Rachel Nash says:

      Disney is also one of my “happy places”! It truly is “The Happiest Place on Earth”. Second best.. a Disney cruise! We did our first one a year ago over Christmas and it was amazing! So much so, that we’re going again this summer, but to Alaska! I can’t wait!

  6. Jen de Ridder Jen de Ridder says:

    I do love a quiet day for my perfect day. Full of yummy food with my family, some reading, a walk…basically my Thanksgiving this year. But I think I love it because my normal day to day is really busy. So then a day at home with family feels special. I do know I wish I spent less time getting lost online and watching tv and more time reading. Once I get into a book I always remember how much I love it. Something to work on for sure.

    • Kim Kotecki Kim Kotecki says:

      Sounds so so nice, Jen! I agree with your challenge to read more instead of getting online and TV. I never regret time spent with a book! :)

  7. Darla Dernovsek Darla Dernovsek says:

    My perfect day would start out with waking up naturally with the sun. I’d enjoy the early morning quiet with a cup of tea. I’d be at the cabin we rent each year at a lake, so the rest of my family would gradually get up and join me (once they’re grown and gone, that’s a real privilege). My sleepy son and daughter-in-law would put me in charge of my grandson for an hour or two of playing and cuddling. As the morning went on, I’d have a long hike. Then when I got back to the cabin, we’d pack a big picnic lunch to take out on the pontoon boat. We’d find a sandbar and place our lawn chairs right in the water atop the sand. Or we’d find an empty island with a sandy beach. The afternoon on the water would end with a long cruise around the lake. Back at the cabin, we’d eat supper from the grill before making a campfire so we could share stories, make s’mores and watch the stars come out. Bliss.

    • Kim Kotecki Kim Kotecki says:

      You painted a beautiful picture here, Darla. As I read each “scene” I got chills at the magic of each moment. Thanks for sharing this wonderful day. I hope there are MANY of these in your future!!!

  8. Amy Metcalf Amy Metcalf says:

    My perfect day would start without the help of my alarm clock. Once awake, I would flip my pillow over to enjoy the coolness of it while making bed angles. Bed angles are when you stretch out your arms and legs, like when making a snow angle, feeling all the cool/cold spots in the bed when you first wake up. :) For breakfast, I would eat a banana and a delicious bowl of warm Malt-o-meal. I would snuggle with my kiddos before heading out for a nice, long run. Once back from my run, I would stretch and do some core work before taking a relaxing, hot shower. I would NOT rush through the shower, I would just stand there until the hot water started to run out. After my shower, I would put up my feet and relax in a comfortable chair, while sipping a cup of mocha mint cappuccino and watching the birds at my feeders. The rest of my day would be spent doing things with my family — it would not matter what it was, just as long as we were together having fun, and laughing — lots of laughing. My day would also include a lot of playful flirting with my husband — I absolutely love the days where we pick on each other like a couple of goofy teenagers.

  9. Becky Reisinger Becky Reisinger says:

    Thanks for the shrinky dinky challenge prize! The real prize was the fun I had with my family. The funny thing was that I was telling my husband that I wanted to surprise the kids by putting face on stuff in the fridge or their cereal bowls. Of course, i got this idea from reading through your website! I am so excited to hear their giggles! Thank you!

    • Kim Kotecki Kim Kotecki says:

      How funny, that you were already pining after some “face fun”…. YAY! Thanks again for your awesome example with your fam.

  10. Becky Reisinger Becky Reisinger says:

    My perfect day would start after getting at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep – no scaring monsters from bedrooms! The kids would all wake up and get themselves ready for school without a fight. no one would forget their sports gear or book bag. A driver would show up to safely transport them to their three different schools (high, middle and pre). Of course, the weather will be sunny and pleasant so I can take our puppy for a walk. She will be well behaved and not bark at every leaf and stick on the path. She will be friendly when she greets other people and pets. I will return home and relax in a quiet bath while finishing those partially read magazines that i will get to some day…then then can finally be recycled instead of serve as a coaster. I would eat ice cream right out of the gallon without sharing my bites while watching a “girlie” movie that is not appropriate for small children and dreaded by the older dudes in the house. And no one will talk over the parts I really want to hear. The kids will all get home from school with smiling faces. They will not argue about whose turn it is to pick up the dog poop or who gets the last granola bar. Nope. They will quietly finish their homework and then give each other big hugs! Then we will do something fun together – it doesn’t even matter what – a board game, go to the park, go to the beach. But it won’t involve arguing or complaining. My husband will come home and we’ll make dinner together and all sit at the table discussing our wonderful days. No iphones or ipads. We will all play with the puppy and laugh until our sides hurt. Then the kids will get ready for bed without a fuss. Since, ideally, my house would be spotless and work would be done…there would be nothing that I HAVE to do. My husband and I can catch up on those episodes of Games of Thrones before the new season comes on on DVD. Ahhh..a girl can dream, right?

  11. Lora Klitzke Lora Klitzke says:

    My perfact day would be to stay home in my pajamas listening to music ALL DAY and sporatically cleaning and drinking coffee while journaling or going though whatever I happen to run across while cleaning…

  12. Avatar Dave Timmerman says:

    My perfect day would be to sleep in late, lay in bed and watch the sun dance off the ceiling of my room. Then I would get up make a cup of coffee and retrieve the paper and lounge on the couch while watching my favorite morning news show, reading the paper, and cuddling with my golden retriever Lily. No deadlines, phone calls or appointments, then I would fix a breakfast, get cleaned up and dressed and then go gambling at my favorite casino, then I would catch an afternoon movie and get home in time to make a nice supper and read or listen to music and then get to bed. Father Dave

    • Kim Kotecki Kim Kotecki says:

      Sounds wonderful, Father Dave. No deadlines, phone calls or appointments – a rare day, I’m sure. Always well deserved!! :)

  13. Alaina Everitt Alaina Everitt says:

    I had a total revelation this morning as I was stealing…ummm…err…I mean spreading the genius Kool-Aid example to a teenage patient. She needed help (even kids aren’t immune to adultitis) with time management and self-care so I brought in glasses and bright red cherry Kool-Aid. As I was watching her divide up her “time” I realized that it’s less about actual time for me than mental energy. I have incredibly high expectations for myself. I genuinely expect to be able to fill every glass every day and I feel guilty when one glass only gets a few drops. I can spend 8 hours of my day seeing patients but give them very little of my Kool-Aid. As I was explaining my dilemma to my patient, she told me I need to get smaller glasses, in other words , lower my expectations for myself. She went on to tell me she would rather have an ounce of super-sweet cherry Kool-Aid from me than a “Bubba Mug” (64 oz.) of overly diluted cherry water.
    She blew me away and I felt like I should pay HER for the session.

    • Kim Kotecki Kim Kotecki says:

      Wow! Chills! “she would rather have an ounce of super-sweet cherry Kool-Aid from me than a “Bubba Mug” (64 oz.) of overly diluted cherry water.”…. what insight. Brings tears to my eyes.

    • Amazing insight! Thanks for sharing, Alaina!

    • Melissa LeFever Melissa LeFever says:

      Wow! That insight totally helps me. I can sense when I’m giving watered down Kool Aid instead of full strength, but sometimes rationalize the quantity vs. quality. I am going to be thinking this one over for a few days. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Avatar Sally Van Rens says:

    My perfect day would start by having enough energy to get up at 6am, be able to spend an hour getting ready for the day without being rushed and reading before getting my son up for school. On a perfect day he would get up and get ready without a fight. We would go to our favorite breakfast spot and a train would go by so I could see a smile on his face. I would get to walk him to the door at school instead of doing the drop off lane. Then I would head home and make some mocha. I would go through my emails, the mail, read a little and catch up on some household items that haunt my sleep. I might take a short nap outside in my favorite chair ( it is warm on my perfect day). For lunch I would have my favorite soup and grilled cheese like my dad makes. After lunch I would go for a walk and find a spot by the river to read and drink some more mocha. Then I would walk to school and pick up my son, stopping on the way home at a friends house to have some girlfriend time. Then we would walk home and talk about the school day. At home we would make dinner together and set the table up fancy. We would change into our fancy clothes and pretend we are royalty. After dinner we would play board games and have homemade popcorn made on the stove-top. At bed time I would read to my son, he would read to me. He would fall asleep in his own bed. My husband and I would be able to sit up and talk about our days. I would read for a bit and then sleep peacefully once again.

  15. Avatar Krista Sobieski says:

    My perfect day would be one that I could wake up when I want to and tackle the world on my own clock. It would most likely involve being with my children and family, the people that make me happy. It would involve being with people who really “get me” and in a world where people build each other up, rather than tear them down…you know a #mustbenice kind of world where it is meant! Then it would involve a time when I could give away “all my favorite” things. I have a friend who calls me the “white Oprah” only because she knows I love to give! I even like to give more secretly…it is s wonderful feeling for me to treat others and watch from behind to see how excited they are…my perfect day would be one that gives me comfort and peace to know that I am comfortable, happy, raised healthy & kind kids who are productive and enjoying life. Would that not be the life…my perfect day, my perfect world…not just a dream…a goal.

  16. Jenna Regis Jenna Regis says:

    There is a lot of perfection in these Perfect Day posts! Reading these is like when you click on the vacation planner section of a resort – they have a list of things that are the best way to spend your vacation time. I’m definitely taking notes to try a few of these perfect moments!!

  17. Melissa LeFever Melissa LeFever says:

    Perfect Day Components: Waking up to the sound of a happy baby talking… after 7am; good cup of coffee with cream; breakfast already made; time to sit and look out at the world- a body of water and sounds of waves is ideal, but backyard and hum of traffic will also do as long as there is some wildlife somewhere to look at; decent weather and time to exercise with a friend outside; meeting up with a friend or family member for a one on one lunch; reading something good; writing or creating something crafty; laughing with my husband; playing with my daughter; having a relaxing dinner; sitting outside at night, catching the sunset and seeing stars (the kind you see somewhere outside of the city); going to sleep with the scent of the outside night air still lingering in my memory; sleeping for 7-8 hours.

  18. Becky Reisinger Becky Reisinger says:

    Time tracking is complete. I can’t say that I was really surprised…I was very close to my estimate. But that isn’t a good thing. I have some work to realign my priorities which is the main reason I decided to participate in the Escape Lab and am already coming away with so much that will help me.

    Attached image:

    • Wow, that’s a hardcore spreadsheet! Nice job, Becky! Especially happy to hear you’re collecting some tips and tools to help!

    • Angela Dunlap Angela Dunlap says:

      That is way more work than I wanted to do. I just did a “yep, I should think about how I spend my time” comment to myself and moved on. I’m impressed!

    • Michelle Grachek Michelle Grachek says:

      God love you Becky. We talk daily about how this is a problem. I think last week. The Kool-Aid image is still in my head about how work fills up so many glasses and family gets what is left. That is a real problem. One little vary from the norm sends me into an explosion. I need to work on that.

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